Soon after the Covid-19 pandemic struck, some young Jewish families in Brooklyn found themselves jobless and low on cash. In a community where large families are the norm, store shelves were bare of priceless commodities: diapers and other supplies for infants.
So 10 Sephardic women stepped in.
The women, most of them mothers too, formed a Young Sephardic Women Diaper Drive Committee, under the auspices of UJA-Federation’s Young Sephardic Division. They started collecting the requested supplies, sometimes driving door-to-door in the Sephardic community, and arranging for distribution of the items. At first, they stored the stuff in the home of a committee member.
“I’m five-10 – the boxes were over my head,” says Esther Hedaya, a resident of Brooklyn’s Midwood neighborhood and a mother of two young children who is an active member of the committee. She says UJA-Federation spread the word about the young mothers’ requests, and the Sephardic community took up the cause, launching a two-week drive, largely through a #UJAmoms4moms Instagram campaign. “After a few days, we needed a bigger facility.”
The committee members, most of them mothers too, donated many of the items, and raised funds for the rest. “We knew what moms need,” Hedaya says.
Most of the supplies were collected from the Sephardic summer community in Deal, N.J, and stored at the JCC of the Jersey Shore in Deal.
As of last week, the diaper committee had distributed more than 110,000 diapers, 1,800 packs of wipes, as well as baby teethers, toys, bibs and other items to Met Council and the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst.
The products collected by the committee were delivered directly to hundreds of families through Met Council’s Domestic Violence Program.